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It's not covert anymore

Does Brian Ross at The Blotter have no idea what the word "covert" means, or was this a deliberate leak from the government to put pressure on Iran?

The CIA has received secret presidential approval to mount a covert "black" operation to destabilize the Iranian government, current and former officials in the intelligence community tell the Blotter on ABCNews.com.


The sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the subject, say President Bush has signed a "nonlethal presidential finding" that puts into motion a CIA plan that reportedly includes a coordinated campaign of propaganda, disinformation and manipulation of Iran's currency and international financial transactions.

"I can't confirm or deny whether such a program exists or whether the president signed it, but it would be consistent with an overall American approach trying to find ways to put pressure on the regime," said Bruce Riedel, a recently retired CIA senior official who dealt with Iran and other countries in the region.

Commenters writing at The Blotter have responded and they are overwhelmingly furious at Brian Ross for blowing the cover on this. Here's one reaction:

I AM LIVID!

As a mother of a USAF pilot now serving in Iraq, I AM aghast that once again the biased, liberal media would OUT the Americans to their enemies! COVERT means JUST THAT. ABC, I am turning you off for FOX news. Bush is NOT trying to get us into a WAR. He is trying to MANUEVER us OUT of a war, even though IRAN has NOT stopped their nuclear weapons making efforts, as well as Iran's military involvement in IRAQ.
I HATE ABC

And another:

First Amendment rights, once again, trump any other rights. Such as: the right to LIFE, for many people, the right and responsibility of a government to do all in its power to protect it's citizens.


Yes, there needs to be a free press in order to have a democracy. But a free press SHOULD have the integrity and moral courage to know what should not be broadcast, rather than being driven by the insatiable lust for ratings.

I was once a devout ABC news fan. Recent storeis, including this despicable bit of reportage, have drastically lessened my opinion of the organization.

This is just over the top!!!!

Marc Shulman at The Moderate Voice notes that this report comes the day before the IAEA is supposed to announce that Iran is advancing quickly in enriching uranium.

Update: Hot Air links to an article from The Age, which reports that Iran appears to be planning to strike targets in Europe:

Iran is attempting to draw up plans to strike targets in Europe and has reconnoitered European nuclear power stations, a security analyst told a meeting at Britain's parliament.


Claude Moniquet, president of the European Strategic Intelligence and Security Centre, a private think-tank in Brussels, said his organisation also had evidence Tehran has increased the number of its intelligence agents across Europe.

"We have serious signals that something is under preparation in Europe," Moniquet said. "Iranian intelligence is working extremely hard to prepare its people and to prepare actions."

The centre, which he said deals directly with European intelligence agencies, believes Iranian operatives have carried out "reconnaissance of targets in European cities, including nuclear power stations," Moniquet said. He mentioned no other specific targets.

Update II: Captain Ed makes the point that this covert action was meant to avoid military strikes against Iran, but with this leak, assuming it was unwanted, the possiblity of a military strike may have to be put back on top of the list again.

The White House intended on using this plan to keep from having to use a military option to stop the mullahs from getting their hands on a nuclear weapon. In fact, ABC reports that Dick Cheney preferred the military option, but that Bush overruled him in favor of the covert action instead. As I have written repeatedly here, a military strike is a lousy choice given the terrain, battleground, and options for targets in Iran as well as the political situation on the ground.


Thanks to the loose lips at Langley and ABC, that option may have to go back to the top of the list. Covert actions that appear on national television tend to lose the element of surprise, after all, and the Iranians can now take steps to block these actions. Undoubtedly they have been on guard in case Bush decided to use these options, but it certainly helps to have the American media broadcast it around the world.

Prediction: at some point, the nutroots will accuse Cheney of ordering a member of his staff to leak the President's secret covert action to ABC in order to force the military strikes that Bush overruled.


Comments (34)

With any luck the next Iran... (Below threshold)
Scrapiron:

With any luck the next Iranian sponsored terror attack in the U.S. will hit Ross's home and wipe out his entire family, except him. He needs to suffer for being a traitor.

Any question now that the l... (Below threshold)
Gianni:

Any question now that the lib media cares not if they hurt America or Americans as long as they discredit this administration?

Somebody needs to FRY for this. Any leakers should of info such as this be sent to Iran, with a dozen pigs, and a F**** allah tattoo on his forehead.

Send Ross too!

Lets have an ABC acronym co... (Below threshold)
retired military:

Lets have an ABC acronym contest.

Ayatollah
Broadcast
Company

was a good one I saw.

Anyone else have any others.

or was this a deliberate... (Below threshold)

or was this a deliberate leak from the government to put pressure on Iran?

More likely it was disgruntled CIA officials who want to prevent the neocons from leading us into another disaster for which the CIA will be blamed.

Making sure the Strait of H... (Below threshold)
civil behavior:

Making sure the Strait of Hormuz is under the control of the oiligopoly.

We will pay big time for this incursion.

Of all the network news ope... (Below threshold)
Corky Boyd:

Of all the network news operations, ABC has given the fairest shake to the administration. And they have also been fairly consistent recipients of "exclusives" from administration sources. It has paid off in the ratings race.

Before everyone gets out of joint, this "leak" has all the earmarks of something the administation would like to get out. It's firing a shot across the bow of Ahmadinijad and letting him know he's next.

We would be remiss if we hadn't aready started to organize resistance forces, especially in the tribal areas of Iran. That's what CIA is all about. We have known Iran is enemy #1 inthe mid-east for a long time.

And a lot more has been going on under the radar. Iranian aircraft are falling out of the sky with great regularity, espcially when carrying high value military and nuclear personnel. Fairly recently, a top nuclear scientist was found dead under suspicious circumstances. In these cases, the operations have Israeli fingerprints.

On at least two occasions, President Bush has spoken "directly" to the Iranian people when giving his State of the Union address. In his addresses he has stated we are working to bring them their freedom.

I think the President is talking to Ahmadinejad through ABC and letting him know his best days are behind him.

More likely it was... (Below threshold)
More likely it was disgruntled CIA officials who want to prevent the neocons from leading us into another disaster for which the CIA will be blamed. Posted by: Larkin at May 22, 2007 09:04 PM

So you're applauding leaks now...well done.

I agree that this may be a ... (Below threshold)
freetoken:

I agree that this may be a managed "leak". That is, there may be a good purpose to have something go public. Part of the role that Bush has willingly played is that of the "bad cop" vs. the "good cop" of EU wrt. Iranian relations. Additionally, the publicity given to the ideas of overthrowing the current Iranian regime may be moral support to those in Iran who wish to topple the Ayatollah-ocracy.

As such, I am very cautious about casting stones at ABC.

I saw the report as it aire... (Below threshold)
macy:

I saw the report as it aired and my first thought was psy-ops. Part of the report mentioned how paranoid Iran is and the story (to me) seemed like a big so what. I assumed we were doing this anyway.

And didja hear that NASA is deflecting highly focused solar waves toward Ahmadinejad's groin. I heard that somewhere.

The administration has been... (Below threshold)
bryanD:

The administration has been coordinating terroristic operations inside Iran for many months. Reminiscent of Kennedy's ZR/Rifle campaign against Castro. Something about silver spoon personalities who have been raised to imagine themselves the next Louis XIV or Prince Metternich (Alexander is too "risky, of course. Too physically dirty and strenuous, as well!).

George II is Exhibit A as proof against Darwin's Theory. The son of a sociable elitist of the Anglosphere becomes a beady-eyed and insecure pawn of the Likud Party legacy-turds of the NYC-DC axis of "opinion".

Couldn't he have just bought a Corvette instead?
Maybe set some babes up in an apartment somewhere?
Or had Mama Sheehan knocked off, Clinton-style?
Maybe fall off the wagon?

...an especially deranged c... (Below threshold)

...an especially deranged contribution from our resident foil-adorner.

George IIGe... (Below threshold)
James Cloninger:

George II

George III, if you are going to sarky...Washingon would have been George I.

JC:Washington spec... (Below threshold)
bryanD:

JC:

Washington specifically turn down the title.

HW would have considered it.

W would deep-throat it. In public. On satellite teevee. LIVE! *IN LIVING COLOR*

Well we now know what image... (Below threshold)
jpm100:

Well we now know what images bryanD thinks about in his spare time.

JC (con't)...money... (Below threshold)
bryanD:

JC (con't)

...money shot and EVERYTHING!

(Would have needed a Dutch concern to "handle" it!)

Smoke some more shit bryanD... (Below threshold)
Ran:

Smoke some more shit bryanDd214.. you'll impress yourself even more!..LOL

Oh thank you so much, Dims.... (Below threshold)
Mitchell:

Oh thank you so much, Dims. You really put the "crap" into the word "Dimocrap."

civil [mis]behaviour:... (Below threshold)
marc:

civil [mis]behaviour:

Making sure the Strait of Hormuz is under the control of the oiligopoly. We will pay big time for this incursion.

How so oh great military strategist?

bryanD[elusional:

terroristic operations inside Iran for many months.

Terroristic?

Oh wait I know... it's another BushCoChimpyMcRovian plot only this time it's the 5 story "skyscraper" in central Tehran taken down by a combanation of controlled demolition and suicide Dragonflys.

Got it... don't worry we understand fully.

Just follow the man in the white coat and there won't be a scene.

I think Larkin has it right... (Below threshold)
jim:

I think Larkin has it right.

It reminds me similarly of the US military high command who privately told Bush that if he invaded Iran they would immediately resign...I read the CIA as stating that this is such an unbelievably bone-headed idea that they will not only not support it, they will leak it so as to nullify it's existence.

It could also be a shot over the Iranian bow, but I'm not sure to what effect. Will threatening to destabilize their country unless they stop sending arms to the Shiites? Or will it be more likely to make them instransigent? So far, every time the Bush admin has rattled a sword, the Iranians have made an even larger show of public defiance...

I hope all of you lefties w... (Below threshold)
Dirk:

I hope all of you lefties who love every disgruntled CIA desk jockey like Plame remember this when it is your turn to actually run foreign policy.

Consider the obvious (in my... (Below threshold)
-S-:

Consider the obvious (in my view):

Leak a story about a false leak to discredit the likliest to leak.

That's about what this story by ABC is. It's fodder to the Left, like granola to a hungry vegetarian.

About Iran: the obvious continues to mount that SOMEone or ones (as in, group) is going to have to use military force against Iran.

My ABC acronym:Ars... (Below threshold)
-S-:

My ABC acronym:

Arses
Braying
Crap

ABC runs these notorious articles (with Pix!) announcing "White Ethnic Supremacists Stampede" and such and then has the audacity to headline stories about La Raza and Mecha as "Hispanic Human Rights Groups Parade".

I have several screen caps from over the years of headlines that ABC has rewritten -- and many they have not -- after complaints about obvious and irrational prejudices, which continue to mount.

Same as to a general "blame America first" and "we love Al Gore" ABC mantras. It's exceedingly sad to see what the network has descended into.

...although I appreciate wh... (Below threshold)
-S-:

...although I appreciate what "Corky Boyd" has written here. I lost faith in ABC, however, a while ago with their deceptive headlining. I realize I should consider it may be for purposes of hooking a targeted audience...such as Ahmadinejad.

"More likely it was disg... (Below threshold)

"More likely it was disgruntled CIA officials who want to prevent the neocons from leading us into another disaster for which the CIA will be blamed."

Um, a CIA official leaks information on what the CIA is doing so the CIA won't get blamed if it turns into a disaster?

And is it just me, or is Bryan getting weirder by the day?

More likely it was disgrunt... (Below threshold)
WildWillie:

More likely it was disgruntled CIA officials who want to prevent the neocons from leading us into another disaster for which the CIA will be blamed.

Posted by: Larkin

Larkin finally admitted what dimmers deny; leak, lie and deny, anything to hurt GW and other patriots. So pathetic that this is a citizen of the US saying this. ww

Captain Ed makes t... (Below threshold)
jpe:
Captain Ed makes the point that this covert action was meant to avoid military strikes against Iran, but with this leak, assuming it was unwanted, the possiblity of a military strike may have to be put back on top of the list again.

*rolls eyes*

As a registered voter I am ... (Below threshold)

As a registered voter I am demanding that you instigate a criminal investigation into the ABC leaking of covert action authorized by the current administration against Iran.

http://blogs.abcnews.com/theblotter/2007/05/bush_authorizes.html#comment-70457046

Both the actions of the anonymous sources and those of ABC in publishing this story clearly rise to the level of treason and US constitutional law requires that it be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

No more nation building. N... (Below threshold)
DickieFlatts:

No more nation building. No more meddling in the affairs of third world countries. We've NEVER been good at and have screwed the pooch everytime we have tried. This admin has an especially bad track record.

As a mother of soldier in Iraq (okay, I'm not really), I am shocked and horrified that this adminstration take further steps to destabalize an already destabalized region, perhaps putting our fighting men and women in even more danger than they are already in.

Not covert? Good. The Ame... (Below threshold)
Alfredo Gonezales:

Not covert? Good. The American people need to know when our government undertakes ILLEGIAL activities. These activities are clearly ILLEGIAL under international law.

I demand the "ILLEGIAL acti... (Below threshold)

I demand the "ILLEGIAL activities" stop!

LMAO!.. Oyster, Give Fred a... (Below threshold)
Ran:

LMAO!.. Oyster, Give Fred a break!..

If Ahmadamnjihadi denounces... (Below threshold)
Billll:

If Ahmadamnjihadi denounces the anti-government demonstrators as being in the pay of the US, maybe the demonstrators will think that if they try harder, they, too can get on the US payroll.

I love a good conspiracy.

Washington specifically ... (Below threshold)
James Cloninger:

Washington specifically turn down the title.
HW would have considered it.
W would deep-throat it. In public. On satellite teevee.

Yeah, well when any of these presidents appears in Burke's Peerage or Debrett's, we'll get back to you.

ABC and all the liberal bia... (Below threshold)
Laura Stephens, RN,CEN:

ABC and all the liberal biased mainstream media, have lost professional integrity under the guise of "right of America to have ALL the news available" without regard to potential ramifications of such actions.

I miss the day, when media exercised discretion on what to report, and what should just be left on the desk. Such as reporting on John F. Kennedy's affairs, or knowing WWII operational plans and NOT reporting them!

THAT WAS IRRESPONSIBLE JOURNALISM, AND HAS PUT OUR COUNTRY AND TROOPS IN GREAT PERIL.

The station's president or CEO, and the reporter, along with the editor approving the release, should be tried for TREASON, as they emboldened our enemies, and put American liberty at great risk!




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